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Dr. William Barrett, medical director of Valley Medical Center’s Joint Center, will lead a free informational seminar on joint replacement and computer-assisted surgery May 1.

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Free seminar on joint replacements hosted by Valley Medical

Dr. William Barrett, medical director of Valley Medical Center’s Joint Center, will lead a free informational seminar on joint replacement and computer-assisted surgery May 1.

The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Medical Arts Center on the hospital’s campus at 400 S. 43rd St. in Renton.

Anyone who has slowed down due to aching joints and is looking for pain relief is encouraged to attend this seminar, hospital officials said. Physicians at the Joint Center have performed thousands of surgeries on such patients.

Barrett was recently named on of the Seattle area’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.

The Joint Center has been ranked best in the Seattle Area for Joint Replacement Surgery and Overall Orthopedics by HealthGrades, the nation’s leading healthcare ratings company.

Free parking is available for people attending the seminar.

Additional information is available at www.valleymed.org and (425) 656-4636. Registration is available by phone.

Valley Medical’s services include a clinilc in Covington.

New troopers include Covington man

Joshua Griffith of Covington was among 49 new State Patrol troopers who formally graduated from their basic training during a ceremony Wednesday in the capitol rotunda in Olympia.

The group was the 95th to complete the training, receive their commission and be sworn in as troopers.

Governor Christine Gregoire and State Pastrol chief John Batiste were speakers at the ceremony.

Authorities watching for unsecured loads on vehicles

The King County Sheriff Department and the State Patrol have begun conducting emphasis patrols and issuing tickets to drivers of vehicles carrying unsecured loads.

The crackdown began April 13.

The fine for violators is $216. The penalty can go up to $5,000 and include jail-time if an item from an unsecured load causes property damage or injury.

Such incidents “are entirely preventable,” said State Patrol chief John R. Batiste. “Spending just a few minutes securing a load can save someone from serious injury or death.”

Guidelines for securing loads, from yard debris and construction materials to household goods and garbage, are available online at www.litter.wa.gov and by telephone at (360) 407-6900. The information is provided through the state Department nof Ecology as part of a campaign to cut down on litter via public education, officials said.

Another tax bill due, this time property

For some King County residents, this week’s deadline for filing income tax returns wasn’t the end of tax business this month.

Property owners are being reminded by county officials that real estate and personal property taxes for the first half of 2008 must be paid or postmarked by April 30.

There are three ways to pa:

• Online at http://www.kingcounty.gov/propertytax. Users of the on-line option will need a valid credit card number or checking account to complete and authorize the transaction. Eligible credit cards include VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. There are processing fees for using the online service. The fee for on-line checking is 95 cents, and the fee by credit card companies is 2.5 percent. King County doesn’t receive any part of the additional fees.

• In person at the Treasury Operations office in the King County Administration Building, 500 Fourth Ave., Room 600 in Seattle. Payments are accepted weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Tax payments made by check for the exact amount due may be paid at one of King County’s seven Community Service Centers. For addresses, phone numbers and operating hours of the community services centers, please visit, http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/csc.

• By mail, but payments must be postmarked by April 30 to avoid interest charges.

Taxpayers who haven’t received statements may contact the treasurer at http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/ or at (206) 296-0923.

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